The default position is we should ask for evidence when someone makes a claim. Muhammad asked for our absolute obedience. We know many liars and frauds have made this claim of being God’s chosen one for their own personal benefit. So what should we believe?
Here are some of the worrying signs that we find in the Quran that indicate Muhammad made it up:
Quran contains no new knowledge that was not available to the people of his time
Neither does it claim to do so, especially when it comes to natural phenomena. It describes things like the orbit of the Sun and Moon (which would appear to a 7th-century person to go around the Earth) in 7:54 and 14:33 in a way that seems to mean both of them going around the Earth (which is false, the sun does not orbit the Earth). (See Geocentric universe in the Quran)
The Quran comes to the rescue of Muhammad when he gets in trouble time and time again.
It threatens his wives with divorce if they don’t stop being badasses. It intervenes and condemns them for not being happy with sharing him with many other women and the pitiful living conditions they were given. It intervened to tell his dinner guests to go home. It also gives him special permission to do things like Marry Zainab, marry as many women as he wants, marry without any wali (guardian). He also is forgiven for the errors that he makes and described as having the best character ever. When he is condemned by the Quran, it is for minor issues like when he was regretting not killing all the kuffar (8:67), not praying for forgiveness for kuffar (9:80), and turning away from a blind man. (See Just In Time Revelations)
Quran repeats several ancient but flawed motifs.
7 Heavens mirrors Plato’s Seven Celestial Spheres (Earth, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the moon). It also talks about the splitting of heavens and earth which has been repeated ad naseum in other cultures (The Romans, Dhammai of India, Ancient Greece, Krachi of Africa, and so on)
The Quran makes actual errors in verses that describe natural phenomena.
a) The verses that seem to be wrong and fit the understanding of the time. There are several verses that appear to describe a flat Earth. There are several verses that appear to describe a geocentric universe.
b) The verses that are clearly wrong
- The Quran defines heavens as that which has been beautified with stars. Then it describes the heavens and earth being joined at the beginning of creation. (21:30) This goes completely against the well-established understanding of the Big Bang that has been proven by both Einstein’s theories and radio evidence of the leftover radiation, as well as Hubble’s visual observations of the universe expanding. So we have multiple pieces of evidence to believe the big bang. The Earth was nowhere to be found until almost 9 billion years later.
- The example of the Quran describing the creation of the embryo when it incorrectly describes bones coming before flesh. (See my blog post on Embryology in the Quran for more details on this)
- Quran’s mention of Dhul Qarnayn’s gate which we cant find, the fact that he travelled to the ends of the earth (which don’t exist), the fact that the sun went into a pool of water (which is impossible). You can excuse all of these as misinterpretations but that puts a very low standard on God’s communication skills.
All of these issues are reinterpreted by the tafsir as time went by, to make it fit within the scientific understanding of the time. The oldest tafsir have no problem with suns going into pools of water, but later ones do have a problem with this.
The Quran’s out-of-place borrowing of the story of Jesus.
Jesus being born without a father makes a lot of sense in Christianity, but no sense in the context of Islam. Same with his many names and titles that make no sense in the context of Islam such as the Messiah, the spirit of god, the word of god and so on. (See my blog post on Jesus in Islam for more details)
The Quran’s inclusion of stories that we have found sources for in that time and place.
Stories like Dhul Qarnayn matching the Syriac Alexander Romance almost identically point for point. Stories like the Syriac Infancy Gospel which is almost exactly the same as the Quranic story of Jesus speaking as a baby.
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